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Mr. Untouchable

Leroy Barnes, Author, Tom Folsom, Author
Leroy Barnes, Author, Tom Folsom, Author . Rugged Land $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-1-59071-041-8
Reviewed on: 02/19/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
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This memoir by a former New York heroin kingpin—reportedly the inspiration for the song "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and the movie New Jack City , among others—pulsates with the criminal street life it depicts so well. In the 1970s, Barnes, a former junkie, built a heroin operation that delivered tens of millions of dollars worth of dope annually to the New York area. He became a street hero for his flamboyant lifestyle. Using a heavy dose of street slang to add flavor, Barnes portrays a dangerous but exciting life, the allure of the money and power he and his associates accrued, even as the drug trade sowed the seeds of their destruction. With documentary filmmaker Folsom's help, Barnes shows how he built his empire, creating a ruthlessly efficient drug organization modeled after the Mafia and known as "The Council." Barnes's ability to elude prison earned him the nickname Mr. Untouchable, but eventually prosecutors caught up to him, and in 1977 he was sentenced to life in prison. Eventually, Barnes turned state's evidence, earned his release in 1998 and joined the federal Witness Protection Program. But even now, Barnes's lack of regret gives this captivating work an added air of authenticity. (Apr.)

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